Gatwick attempts to argue more flights from a 2nd runway = less noise, by runway alternation
The Airports Commission consultation on its aircraft noise discussion paper ended on 6th September. Gatwick airport submitted their response, which admits that expansion at Gatwick would mean the number of people impacted by noise could increased from 3,300 to 11,800. But they say they can lower the number – including use of respite periods, as at Heathrow now. The airport said one runway would be used for take-offs, and the other for landings, swapping between the two, and so giving people half a day of respite. As aircraft are increasingly able to fly an exact route, using a sort of aircraft SatNav, called PP-RNAV, flights can be concentrated along one route. The debate continues whether it is more humane to those overflown to concentrate flight paths, or to disperse them. The latter shares the misery around, so many more suffer, but to a lesser extent. However, airports judge the level of dissatisfaction by the number of people complaining, and dispersed routes mean more people complain.
Airport has ways to limit noise impact of second runway for 11,800 people
Gatwick Airport, aerial view of new passenger bridge at Pier 6 and North Terminal Apron including runways, June 2005, Image ref CGA00963, A.C
13th September 2013 (Crawley Observer)
Expansion at Gatwick Airport would mean the number of people impacted by noise could increased from 3,300 to 11,800.
However, in a response to the Airports Commission comments on noise, Gatwick Airport says it has a number on methods it is using to make this number lower.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of London Gatwick said: “Noise issues for local communities are taken very seriously at Gatwick, which is why we are a leading airport in the crucial area of noise management.
“We also continue to work closely with local people to understand and address their concerns. Technological developments both in aircraft and airspace design will allow airports like Gatwick to grow whilst mitigating our noise impacts. With our position to the south of London, we have a huge advantage over other runway options directly to the west and east of London.
“Even with a second runway, Gatwick would impact less than five per cent of the people impacted by Heathrow today.”
The airport has been chosen as a pilot for a number of ways to help limit the number of people affected by noise. They will also use existing methods to help residents.
Kyran Hanks, strategy and regulation director at the airport said: “What happens at Heathrow is some residents get respite for part of the day.
“The new runway would be used for landings and the other for take off and then at Heathrow they swap it around. It means if people have bought a house near the airport they will get half a day of respite.”
From November, Gatwick will be the only UK airport to trial a type of sat nav for aircraft called P-RNAV, which will help them take routes away from residential areas.
Mr Hanks said: “It’s much more accurate in where it flies. You can see what’s the least noisy area to fly in. Also keeping the aircraft higher for longer. It could possibly make a big difference coming into land.”
At the end of the year, the Airports Commission will release its shortlist of preferred options for airport expansion. If Gatwick is one of those, the airport will publish a detailed proposal for public consultation in April 2014.
It will include what infrastructure and number of houses will be needed, where the River Mole and A23 would need to go, and the proposed layout of the airport.
The Airports Commission’s discussion paper on noise is at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-considers-aviation-noise
The consultation closed on 6th September 2013.
Gatwick Airport’s response to the discussion paper is at Gatwick response
It is difficult to take very seriously the claims of the airport that the level of noise will reduce, while the airport doubles the number of flights, when they include this paragraph in their submission to the Commission:
“2.4 Significant progress has been made by the aviation industry in reducing the impact
of noise. The noise produced by current aircraft in the UK has reduced by 97% on
departure and 94% on arrival compared with the first passenger jet aircraft. Putting
this in context a 97% reduction in noise energy means that 33 modern jet aircraft
departing simultaneously today would produce in aggregate the same level of noise
as one jet aircraft of the same size departing in the 1960’s.”
[…. this is just disingenuous. They deliberately conflate the measurement of sound energy with the measurement of sound, as experienced by a listener. The measurement of sound energy is on a logarithmic scale. One Concorde per hour compared to 33 modern jets overhead per hour is not a proper comparison. In reality a 50% reduction in sound energy means a 3 decibel reduction in noise – only just detectable by the human ear. AW]
“2.7 There is still much to do in aircraft airframe and engine design, but current day
aircraft are now breaking new ground with the Dreamliner 787 aircraft that has a 60%
smaller noise footprint than its closest equivalent, and the Airbus A380 that is quieter
than the existing 747 jumbo jet. There are also cleaner and quieter aircraft to come. [There might be, some long time into the future – but they are not in prospect for decades, so this is disingenuous. AW].
Although aircraft are becoming quieter, airports are getting busier and so the
challenge now is to look at how aircraft are flown, and where and also how frequently
they are flown in relation to populated areas.”
“6.0 Community engagement
6.1 Community engagement is also critical to managing Gatwick’s noise impacts. Key
to delivering this is proactive communication by airport noise management teams with
noise-affected communities. We already have a comprehensive noise management
and governance structure supported by our consultative committee, GATCOM. With
the help of these groups we have been able to deliver noise improvements and this
approach will be vital to the development of new noise solutions in the future.”
[But just talking to affected local residents, asking for their opinions, and informing them about the way flights are managed does not make the noise reduce. Community consultation is often little more than a sop to attempt to defuse local opposition and limit complaints. AW].